Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – An Extract from the Diary of Peter MackenzieBy Daniel Stride An Extract from the Diary of Peter Mackenzie (which originally had “with the permission of the Hocken Library” in the title!) was born out of a desire to write a monster story. Not just any monster story: I wanted something with a decidedly New Zealand flavour, which immediately suggested the involvement of a taniwha. The big issue then was deciding where (and when) to set the piece. I did a fair amount of research on the traditions of the Whanganui River for that purpose, until I stumbled upon a completely useless little bit of trivia: there were plans over a century ago to expand the (now-closed) Kurow Branch of the New Zealand Railways inland. Those plans came to nothing, and the Branch terminus remained at Hakataramea… which inspired my idea of using a Waitaki taniwha to “explain” this mysterious failure. Having a background in academic History (and old-school horror) did the rest, so you end up with editorial commentary, “permission” from the Hocken Library (I’m a Dunedinite), and the allusion to Seacliff Lunatic Asylum – itself a creepy little bit of Otago history that I might do something with at some point. There is also an historical in-joke in the form of the horse being named Sir John (it is up to the reader to decide if the reference to the legendary Minister of Lands is affectionate or mocking). I went with a diary format because I felt a comparatively archaic mode was a good fit for the late nineteenth century, a time period not quite alien in its psychology, yet not quite modern. And it’s a horror story, damn it: a diary – the literary equivalent of a found-footage film – is a perfect way of covering a doomed protagonist. After that, the story rather wrote itself.
Te Kōrero Ahi Kā
By Darian Smith
I’ve been thrilled to be able to participate in the creation of Te Korero Ahi Ka, and am very proud to show this collection of excellent New Zealand speculative fiction to anyone who might be interested in seeing what our country has to offer in the realms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
There’s something unique about the voice of this section of the world and I love being part of it.
The story I contributed was a reprint which had won a competition SpecFicNZ in conjunction with www.wilywriters.com a few years ago. It’s one I’m particularly proud of and blends a multi-hued pasifika-style setting with the concept of magic as its own entity. In this story, magic is an almost living thing – the star cloak – that seeks the right person to wield it. The main character is a man who once wore the star cloak and controlled its magic but lost it. I wanted to explore the concept of power corrupting and that many of our best lessons in life are learned from loss and failure.
Te Kōrero Ahi Ka: The Iron Wahine
By Matt Cowens
I love the idea of giant bugs. The Mist by Stephen King is among my favourite stories, and I fondly remember a post-apocalyptic science fiction roleplaying game where the rag-tag gang I was part of was lead by a twelve-foot-tall cybernetic praying mantis. Te Papa’s recent Bug exhibit was a total delight. Closely behind the giant bug for entertainment value is the giant robot, the sword-wielding, flying, humanoid defender of humanity. From classic anime to recent blockbusters the giant robot has also been a source of joy for me.
by Grace Bridges
For a number of years now, I have dreamed of making a SpecFicNZ anthology showcase. Although I’ve been on the Core committee for almost 6 years, and president for most of those, the time was not yet right to launch the project – so I honed my publishing skills and worked on other anthologies such as Aquasynthesis, Avenir Eclectia, and Alter Ego as well as editing dozens of novels in the intervening years.
Last year, when we discussed the idea, the Core was enthusiastic and committed to standing behind our members in this new, shared use of our assigned Publishing Grant fund. And so began the task of getting people into place. An early reshuffle meant that I was unexpectedly but not unwillingly handed the project management as a whole. Lee Murray stood ready, an ever-professional and reliable backup on the editing team; and Paul Mannering volunteered to herd the cats i.e. administrate the submissions and handle the financial side. It only remained to choose a mentee editor from the applicants, and for this Aaron Compton got on board.
TE KORERO AHI KA
edited by Grace Bridges, Lee Murray and Aaron Compton
Review by Simon Litten
Te Korero Ahi Ka is a collection of works by members of Speculative Fiction New Zealand. The collection is of both new works and reprints, but the new works predominate. This is neither a themed anthology nor a collection of one particular author, rather it is a showcase of the variety of short stories (and occasional art work) produced by the members of Speculative Fiction New Zealand. To that end the collection is a very mixed bag with science fiction, fantasy, horror, poetry and even to my eye at least a non-genre work. Given that breadth of content what can one say about such a collection?
Reporter Mark Peters of the Gisborne Herald talks with Te Kōrero Ahi Kā co-editor Aaron Compton.
Science fiction fans in for a treat with anthology featuring local author.
When people come to the end of their lives their brains are resurrected and preserved in bottles, in Gisborne writer Aaron Compton’s story Moa Love.
The story, in which the bottled brains rely on people in the real world for sensory experience, is Compton’s contribution to speculative fiction anthology, Te Korero Ahi Ka (to speak of the home fires burning).
The very New Zealand collection includes a zombie story written in colloquial Kiwi (“I eat heaps of burgers, so I’m slow as,” says the living narrator. “Now I have to be hardout cunning.”), a tale of madness and a taniwha, and another about pigs with AK-47s. Then there is Compton’s story about ancestors’ bottled brains who maintain their sanity by living vicariously through full-bodied people’s sensory experience.
We’re delighted to present the full text of the speech of Conclave III Fan GoH Daphne Lawless, who talks about filking as a form of community building and the role of youth in maintaining our science fiction and fantasy community.
My name is Daphne Lawless and I AM NOT INSANE. Thought I’d better get that out there.
Warning: I use big words, abstract concepts, adult language, and have a habit of jumping from one subject to another like Catherine the Great. My apologies if it leaves you behind. Feel free to ask for clarification later.
I’m here to talk about 4 things in no particular order:
- Generational Change in Fandom.
- How I shouldn’t even be here.
- Filking and fan creativity.
- The politics of rrrrevolution.
- Cycle lanes
- Why science fiction at all?
To start, I don’t think I deserve to be FgoH.
Not that I’m ungrateful – I love having an audience to talk at. I’d talk at the opening of an envelope.
Te Kōrero Ahi Kā contributors Alicia Ponder, Eileen Mueller, and Paul Mannering appear in the Cook Strait News on Tues 22 March, 2018. Article by Jamie Adams.